I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

For Auld Lang Syne

What with all the singing tags and ringing cards - I hope you haven't missed any of them! - it's almost New Year's Eve... a time of endings, changes and renewals.

As you'll have guessed from the fantastic influx of international talent, it's time for a changing of the guard at Our Creative Corner, and the Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas challenge in December was sadly my last hurrah.  If you haven't seen who's come to play in the Corner yet, then check out this post.

I couldn't just disappear without a word so I thought I'd share just a few of my Our Creative Corner creations as a thank you and farewell to Laura and the rest of the team, as well as to all of you who've played along and made Our Corner so Creative!

I won't send roses...

So here are some of my personal favourites inspired by the stimulating challenges set by my team-mates throughout the 20 months, and even one that was a Sponsor Spotlight creation.

Click on the captions if you'd like to revisit any of them, and clicking on the Our Creative Corner label at the foot of the post means you can catch every single one of my OCC projects!

Blissful Baubles

As you can see! I've had a very creative time in the Corner over the last year and a half or more, but lovely and unexpected opportunities which keep arising in my other life mean I need to create a bit more space and time in my world.

I'll miss my amazing team-mates, and I'm sorry not to get to play alongside the new wonderful new designers. I know that the New Year is going to be really exciting over at Our Creative Corner.  But from me it's farewell, and thank you, and let's not let auld acquaintance be forgot!

Let your heart fly...

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Robert Burns

Monday, 29 December 2014

Winter Singers

Hello all... it's pretty noisy round here at the moment.  In the last post we were ringing, and now we're singing!

I'm here with the second of my inspiration pieces for this month's Nostalgic Christmas theme at Country View Challenges.  You haven't got long left to play, but maybe you've got a little more time to play with now the big day is over.

My Christmas keeps going until 6th December (which is just as well, having had to put lots of it on hold after being struck with the Norovirus - less said, the better!) - but this is the lovely gentle part, with all the planning and preparations over, and the chance to hibernate with a good book, some music and plenty of candlelight - and some time at the craft table too I hope.

Music is so central to my Christmas that it would be hard to manage without it (that's true of life generally, as far as I'm concerned) - and nothing can transport me back in time or to another place more quickly than a particular tune or carol arrangement.  So for a Nostalgic Christmas, these lovely Victorian Carollers were an obvious choice.

I created a soft and snowy forest background (if you want the how-to, it's pretty much the same as the inside of the wallet on my Vintage Journey Secret Santa gift).

The Carollers themselves are cut from some of the Bazzill Antique papers, edged with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

I stuck the music paper onto black card initially, so you get a really clear, sharp outline.  It could be done with inking, of course, but this cut out one task, leaving me just with the Vintage Photo ageing to do.

I needed to make sure they were standing on something, so I used some snowflake tissue tape and created some shadows with my Stampers Big Brush Pens.

And I kept the embellishing pretty simple to keep the look delicately rustic.  There are some of my favourite tiny wooden stars up in the sky...

... and some twine around the foot of the tag, tied in the bow and topped with one of the larger stars.

The Chitchat stickers pretty much say it all...

... hidden amidst the shadows of the snowy trees as they are.

Of course there's a topping to match - seam binding and twine and pale hessian ribbon.

I hope you're all enjoying your 12 Days of Christmas as much as he is clearly enjoying the music.  For a hilarious version of that particular carol - shared with me by the ever-musically-curious Andrea of eclectic meandering - just click here and enjoy the fun!

And of course they can sing facing one another as they were at the start of the post, or join forces to sing out to the world...

I hope that's given you some last minute inspiration to play along with us.  There are lots of fabulous entries already, but we'd still love to see your version of Nostalgic Christmas over at Country View Challenges - you have until New Year's Eve to join in!! 

I'd like to enter this over at the Inspiration Journal blog where the theme for December is Sing, Sing It Loud

I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing.
William James

Friday, 26 December 2014

Ring In The New!

Hello all! I hope you're all enjoying the festivities, as well as my Artistic Stamper 2014 top picks.

Christmas Day is blissfully quiet round here... it's the 26th that is the family celebration, so there'll be presents and lots of eating.  But while I'm busy with that - or recovering - it's time for a new challenge at A Vintage Journey, and our host is the wonderful Brenda.  The theme is Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New, and she's given us some words (yay!) to play with:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Brenda suggests we focus on key words from the poem and interpret one or more of them in any way you like.  For instance, you could use something old/new on a project; include bells or snow on a card; design a new year card/project/invitation etc.  Be creative, and just tell us what your links are to the words and what your Tim inspiration is on the project.

So here's the card I came up with - a celebration of this time that I love between Christmas and New Year, the lull in activity before we go hurtling into fresh adventures.

I think the Tim inspiration is pretty clear - everything I've used is part of his ever-expanding and ever-desirable product line.  And there are lots of other inspirations going on, including Tim's December tag.

Work has meant I've missed the whole second half of the year tags-wise (more catching up to do!), so I'm very happy to be able to join in again for a last hurrah.  The sparkly die-cut, the sprays of Holiday Greens, the Distress Spray backgrounds, Distress Paint altered metal, and the little bells all find a place.  I didn't have any of the new Frosted - which looks so cool - but my embossing is within the card itself.

As you read, it will seem I must have spent hours working out how to include all the words of the poem, but it honestly wasn't like that.  I just wanted to play with some of my new toys!

I took advantage of one of the fabulous Country View Crafts Advent offers to grab the Festive Gent die...

... as well as the delicious Holly Branch embossing folder which provides the underlying texture on my kraft card panel.

There's also an old year/new year thing going on in the colour palette.  I started out in my Christmas neutrals, but found myself yearning for the vivid blue-greens which seem to be where my crafty instincts carry me in Jan/Feb (check the archive if you don't believe me).

So now the card combines them both!

I blended Walnut Stain and Vintage Photo DIs over the branch to make it pop, and used Broken China Distress Glitter over Glossy Accents to create the dimensional holly berries.

And I think the Holiday Greens Thinlits still count as new to my stash, even though they've had plenty of use since getting here...

... as do the Distress Spray Stains used to colour the greenery as well as to spatter the kraft background.

I used the Rays Layering Stencil with Vintage Photo DI to add extra movement and depth of colour, and then spritzed the panel with Picket Fence Distress Spray.

I had a lovely time creating spritzed blue/green backgrounds - but my fingers are still looking a little bluesy!

Once cut, I arranged the greenery (including the wax paper cuts) in loose sprays...

... and added the clock, altered with Distress Paints, and warning that it's almost midnight.  Our Festive Gent is going to have to hurry if he's going to be the First Footer tonight!

He, of course, is dressed up in sparklingly new array for the celebrations.  This is, in fact, the test cut that comes in the package (waste not, want not), inked up for some shading and then given a good dusting of Rock Candy Dry Glitter.

I edged him with a Big Brush Stampers Pen (shock, horror, not a Tim product!! - but that's allowed too, as long as you let us know your Tim inspiration) to make sure he stands out against the background.

Obviously, I've got my little rusty bells (rusty and therefore old)... and they're happy bells too, filled with the Merriment of the Idea-ology Muse Token (which I only noticed as a happy coincidence once I was taking the pictures... subconscious selection of the most appropriate token).

The bells are ringing out across the snow-y spatter of some Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain, and the alcohol-ink-altered Word Band lets us know the noise they're making as he goes.

The main kraft panel is layered up over some more of that Distress spritzed card, some white card and onto another kraft layer, all distressed with the TH distresser to create extra texture and dimension.

And since this is doing duty as a "voucher" during the present-giving today, I zhuzhed up a plain brown envelope to hold it.  I continued the holly theme spritzing Tumbled Glass and Evergreen Bough sprays through the Holly Bough Layering Stencil, and then spattering with Picket Fence.

Just as a little added extra, here's a sneak peek of some more handmade wrapping paper that will be putting in an appearance this afternoon...

This is done with Stormy Sky and Evergreen Bough sprays, also turning the stencil over occasionally to print with once it was nice and inky.

I always wrap gifts according to a wrapping paper code - each person has their own pattern/decoration so that I can tell what is for whom (not all handmade papers!)... these and the voucher are going to the same person.

That's quite enough from me... we hope you'll come and Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New with us.  If you're in need of further inspiration you'll find plenty of it over at A Vintage Journey, where my amazing team-mates have been busy, and you can also check out the small print of Brenda's challenge details and our Travelling Instructions - just to make sure you qualify for the chance to win the gift voucher from our generous sponsors, Country View Crafts (where you can also find all the goodies I've used to create this).

I hope you enjoy this quiet time in the run up to New Year's Eve.  I'll be hoping to do some hopping and see what you've all been up to but, until then, stay warm and safe and happy!

Of all sound of all bells... most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.
Charles Lamb

I'd like to enter this as my take on the December tag for Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2014
And in the Anything Goes theme over at That's Crafty Challenge Blog
With the ringing of the bells and the WordBand with the lyrics from "that song", I'd also like to join in with the Sing, Sing It Loud musical theme at the Inspiration Journal

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Artistic Stamper Favourites

Hello all, and welcome to Christmas Eve!
The Design Team at The Artistic Stamper have been sharing their top three favourite creations from 2014,
and today it's my turn over at The Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog.

If you want to see what's made my top three,
hop on over and check them out.
HINT: it's none of these!
This review is just a little appetiser before the main course.
Apologies, of course, if I've missed out one of your favourites...

It wasn't easy to whittle it down to only three
- I've had a lovely time with the Artistic Stamper stamps this year - 
but I managed in the end (sort of, as you'll see).

As my Artistic Stamper Favourites post falls on Christmas Eve,
this seems the perfect time to wish you all a very merry Christmas - or whatever festival you choose to celebrate!
May your festive season be full of joy, love and peace.

We don't need to have just one favourite. We keep adding favourites. Our favourite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favourites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favourites. They're always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.
Lloyd Alexander

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the fireside with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there...
From A Visit From St Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore